The FINANCIAL — Sweden's foreign ministry said it had summoned Israel's ambassador on Monday after an Israeli official was quoted as saying Stockholm would oppose more EU sanctions on Iran to protect a business deal.
Israeli daily Haaretz said Sweden would try to prevent the European Union from imposing further sanctions against Tehran to protect a deal between telecom group Ericsson and mobile operator Irancell.
"The Swedes fear that other countries with problematic human rights records such as China will hear about the cancellation and worry about their ties with Ericsson," the newspaper quoted an unnamed foreign ministry official as saying.
A spokeswoman for Sweden's foreign ministry said the Israeli ambassador was due to meet with Swedish officials early Monday afternoon.
"(The meeting) is about the statements in the Israeli press, that are supposed to have come from the Israeli foreign ministry," she told AFP.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt branded the report "mudslinging" in an interview with news agency TT at Monday's meeting of the EU's foreign ministers in Luxembourg.
"This is not how I think mature nations should interact with each other and I will react quite sharply against Israel," he said.
As EUbusiness announced, a new package of sanctions to be agreed by the foreign ministers is expected to target the bloc's dealings with Iran's banks, as well as trade and gas imports, diplomatic sources said.